With arrests of illegal immigrants declining steadily along the Texas-Mexico border, should the controversial and costly fence be completed? The Houston Chronicle reports an analysis by the Texas Border Coalition, an association of elected officials and business leaders, showing a 56 percent drop in arrests during the last four years by the U.S. Border Patrol on the border. Officials maintain that fewer arrests mean fewer immigrants are trying to cross the border illegally.
Only a half-mile of the 110 miles of pedestrian fencing planned for the Texas border is finished. As government budget deficits soar, some question how fiscally prudent it is to build and maintain a project the Congressional Research Service estimates to cost $49 billion. “Here we are in middle of a financial crisis, and we’re going to spend billions on something that doesn’t make sense?” said Laredo Mayor Raul Salinas. “Walls don’t work – people go under, over and around them.” As of mid-October, 210 of the 370 miles of planned pedestrian fencing and 153 of the 300 miles of vehicle barriers were finished, most of it in New Mexico, Arizona, and California.